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Hello Feltman,

Welcome to the world of conventional casting? but just keep in mind that there is always a place for spinning!

Since you are planning to fish the South Shore, Jetties and some back bays? I strongly recommend something over 8? long and a little beefier!

Here are the reasons?

First, there is a ?distance factor? - Many times, you have to content with breakers from the south shores (Ocean side) and therefore you need to cast over the waves and reach the fish. Although some stripers strives in the wave?s crest? you still need to reach to make a proper lure presentation.

Secondly, if you are fishing jetties, you need the extra lifting & controlling power to tame a big fish. At times, these methods demands large bucktails, darters, tins and other big plugs? Therefore a heavier outfit is better suited for you.

When conventional casting? You will also realize how much control / feel you will have when tossing a live eel or a large wooden swimmer!

With all that, I recommend a 9? ? 11? rod rating anywhere from 1-5ounch payload!

Now? You also asked the question about level wind ?or- no level wind. Well, let me put it this way and I?ll let you decide. If you are also planning to do powercasting (wind on your face, extra distance, heavier plug / chunking) you may want to discard the level wind idea. The level wind will get in the way? because you will be using shock-leaders and really work the reel to it?s maximum capability.

However, if you are comfortable tossing plugs all day and night long? than the level wind is preferred. Less headaches and not having to worry about line control (into spool)?.

As the brand is concerned? Well, I like the Abu?s (more in your said price range) but the Tica / caiman is not a bad idea?but I can't vouch for reels performance (haven't tried it yet). The calcutta?s is also a decent reel? but it may blow your budget and leave very little left for your rod.

Let's go to the rod department? OK, there are many quality brands in the market today that will fit your needs. I?ve been very content with the Lamiglas and the St. Croix rods. The warranty is incredible and since you are planning to purchase a "combo" a local B&T shop will probably give you a decent discounted rate!

Please give me some feedback (level wind, length, etc..) and I will help you to purchase a well balance combo with the price range that will meet your budget. :)

"Crazy" Alberto
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OK? Feltman?
I believe you will be happy with this outfit that I am recommending (meets your requirement) and it should be very close to your budget!

The Ambassadeur (ABU) 6500 CS Mag Lite reel (Gear ratio 5.3:1 (line capacity 14 / 245 yards) tipped with a Lamiglas IC86H 8?6? inches. Fast Action (1 pc.) Rated for ½ - 2 ½ lure wt., line weight 12 ? 25 lbs. test.

If the 8?6? is too long? my second recommendation is the model IC80XH, 1pc. which is 8? long, rated from ¾-3 ouch, 15-30 lbs. test,Fast action!

This is a great "balanced" outfit! It's light enough for tossing small backbays lures and tough enough for the ocean jetties!

Good luck and enjoy! :)

"Crazy" Alberto
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Hello Fetman,

Originally I was going to recommend that model but it was out of your $300 price range - therefore I opted for the IC86H?

The XS9MHC is a "higher quality" with a moderate/fast action and it has a lot of backbone power! It is rated from 1-3 ouch, which you are not going to have any problem tossing a bomber at all! In fact, I spoke to Ron Arra and he speaks very highly of that rod! ;)

From the looks of things, you bought it for a lot less than the IC model?With all the extra savings, you should have enough to buy a few extra lures! Great deal! :)

"Crazy" Alberto
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